Before I begin, I'd like to clarify/disclose who I am:
I'm the author of the What's new in Opus 9
guide. (The one linked in reply #19 of this thread.) I'm also an Opus beta-tester and plugin writer and I answer a lot of questions on the Opus forums. I don't work for GPSoftware, I don't write Opus and I don't make my living from Opus. I have a day job doing something completely different. I'm just a very enthusiastic user who puts a lot of his spare time and energy into helping GPSoft make Opus better and helping people who use Opus get more out of it.
With that out of the way I'd like to respond to a few questions/statements made here, as best I can.
ability to launch DOpus via double-clicking the desktop even if the process is not running in the background (wonder if this is true, too, of double-clicking on folder icons on the desktop when in "Explorer Replacement" mode?)
Yup, it does apply to double-clicking icons in Explorer Replacement mode. If Opus isn't running then it will be launched to display the folder. This isn't a new thing, though. Explorer Replacement in Opus has always worked that way. The new thing is that when you double-click an empty space on the desktop (i.e. your desktop wallpaper) then Opus will open a new window, even if it wasn't running at the time. Before Opus 9 the empty-space double-click event only worked if Opus was already running. Of course, you can turn off the empty-space double-click, and/or Explorer Replacement, if you don't want them. I find them both really, really handy, though.
So I can choose to go to locations like 'Control Panel', 'Recycle Bin' inside it, and the display columns will show me content specific to those, instead of just being a file manager for files and folders.
Opus does that as well. I haven't used Xplorer2 but I'm assuming that it and Opus do the same thing which is to call on Explorer itself (or a shell extension/namespace for 3rd party special folders) when you go to those folders. You can host Explorer's views inside any application and sometimes it's the only way to provide such a view because the underlying system or data is undocumented and/or subject to change in future versions of Windows.
Opus also lets you choose from a wide range of columns when displaying normal folders containing normal files. You can define different columns/views for different locations (e.g. "C:\Windows" where you might find it useful to display DLL version information in a column), and/or types of folders (e.g. Network Drives, where you might want to avoid any columns that cause Opus to look inside the files because the network is slow). You can also tell Opus to automatically add columns or switch view modes when you enter a folder containing a lot of image files (for example).
"Perhaps the thing I like best about DOpus is being able to assign keyboard shortcuts to specific folders and files if I want"
Can I ask you how this is done? I use Dopus 184.108.40.206 and I can't seem to find how to do this?
In Opus, go to Settings -> Customize -> Keys
, then add new hotkeys with commands which run things like Go "C:\Program Files"
-- That will make the active ("source") window go to that folder. Opus 9 also lets you assign hotkeys to items in your Favorites tree, which is a lot easier to manage but the end result is the same. The Go command can be given lots of extra arguments if you want the folders to open in new windows or tabs or whatever. If you have more questions, drop by the Opus Resource Centre
forums where myself or one of the many other people there will help you out.
I'm at work, and I can't view that preview because the address has nude in it.
Hehe, sorry. :)
If anyone else has the same problem, there's a mirror of my Opus 9 guide at my personal website ( http://www.pretentiousname.com/opus9/
) but, if you can, please used the published URL ( http://nudel.dopus.com/opus9/
) as GPSoft have much more hosting bandwidth than I do and all those images and Flash demos add up!
it's lightweight (which is a feature DOpus doesn't have, IIRC)
Define lightweight? I leave Opus running 24/7 on all of my machines at home and at work and it has no effect on other programs. If Opus is using a lot of memory it's likely due to a configuration that uses lots of large background images (they all have to be in memory, uncompressed) or toolbars with hundreds of external icons (ditto), or because you're viewing lots of thumbnails (ditto, but only while viewing the dir, of course). As well as those things, you can also reduce memory a bit more by disabling plugins you don't need.
Right now my dopus.exe process is using all of 5MB of memory and that's with a window open, a few images (not many, no big ones) and all of the plugins enabled. That seems low actually; I think it usually uses more like 10MB with my current configuration, but as I write this TaskManager reports just under 5MB, even after doing some stuff in Opus to see if it would push the memory usage up. Anyway, in 2007, I don't understand why anyone really cares if a useful program uses 5MB or 10MB when machines have a gig or two of RAM and when, more importantly, Windows pages out the memory of idle programs you aren't using when something else you are using needs it. It's a non-issue unless you're using a 486 with 16MB of RAM or something, in which case you've got bigger problems to worry about. :)
Probably DOpus is developed by a big team
Nope, just Jon, the main coder, and Greg, who generally handles running the business, writing the manuals and the official support emails. (Not to be confused with the Resource Centre forums which are, I guess, semi-official support. Greg & Jon also reply to questions there, but most things get answered first by the community other users.) A few things are done by people outside of GPSoft, e.g. Trevor Morris did the graphics and icons, Steve Banham looks after the Resource Centre forums and I've written several plugins and a few guides and tutorials in my spare time, as have several other users. There is also a team of beta testers, generally selected from enthusiastic users who have given useful feedback in the past. (Jon is the same person who has been writing Opus since the first Amiga version in 1990. The program has never changed hands, although the old Amiga versions were given to other people to take over when GPSoftware moved to the PC and started a new program from scratch.)
So, the hope that it'll evolve into something even better then DOpus isn't lost
Don't forget Opus is a moving target and will also evolve into something better than what it is currently. :) (Better, of course, being subjective. To some Opus isn't the best file manager, just as to me it is. There's no absolute best for everyone.)
it is not as svelte and quick as XYplorer
What sort of stuff do you find slow in Opus? I would think most operations are bounded by how fast the filesystem can supply directory listings. You can slow things down by turning on certain options, though, so maybe that's what you're seeing? Or maybe there's something none of us have noticed that could do with fixing/improving. Let me or GPSoft know and I'll pass it on.
The rest of what I want to say is mainly in response to Zaine Ridling's weblog post.
Zaine, I tried to reply to your weblog but there seems to be an issue with the comments system there. That probably explains why every post has zero comments. The page gives you the impression that you can post comments but they seem to go into the void. If you have cookies enabled (which I don't by default, except for a whitelist) then your comment will appear, but only for you
. Is that to disguise the fact the comments are moderated (but never approved by the look of it), or to make people think they've had their say when nobody else can see it?
I'll reply here instead but I wish I could have my say on your weblog to add some balance to what you posted because your post ranges from incredibly subjective to downright misleading and borderline slanderous in places.
XYplorer beats DOpus in many ways, among them speed and options at-hand; that is, within a keyboard shortcut or right-click
As I asked someone else above, what do you find slow in Opus?
Regarding keyboard short-cuts and right-clicks, I'm not really sure what you mean by this comparison. Opus lets you can assign just about any internal function, or external command, to almost any keyboard shortcut, toolbar button, menu item or right-click context menu. Do you just mean that the things *you* use are not configured by default in Opus? Ever considered that other people use different things to you and if every single Opus function was added to the default menus/toolbars then they would fill a pair of 30" monitors and then some?
If you mean that it can be difficult to find settings in Opus 8 then nobody can deny that. It comes with having a lot of settings! Opus 9 helps by making it possible to search the Preferences and Customize windows. There are still a lot of settings, of course, but Opus is that kind of program. People who don't want many choices always have Windows Explorer, etc.
However, I counted no less than twelve features that Directory Opus either copied or is finally catching up to XYplorer 5.x on, from breadcrumbs to thumbnails to folder tabs to new rename options to new find features, and more
I wish you'd qualify statements like "twelve features" and "beats DOpus in many ways" by giving a complete list. I wish you'd also point out and/or realise that twelve features out of several thousand is a pretty insignificant percentage. Also, as I'll get to in a moment, I wish you'd realise that all or most of what few examples you did give are wrong.
FYI, I don't think anyone involved in writing or beta-testing Opus has ever even installed XYplorer let alone scoured it for ideas. Jon never has. Greg never has. Trevor never has. I never have. Suggesting that Opus has stolen ideas from other file managers is pretty rich considering Directory Opus has existed for 17 years, since the first Amiga version way back in 1990, and is often explicitly mentioned as the inspiration for many of the Windows file managers available today. Opus invented and introduced more than its fair share of ideas. Of course, it is possible (and in some cases true) that some feature requests have come from users who saw something in another program and asked for the same thing in Opus. To my knowledge, though, that's never happened with features from XYplorer. The actual examples you gave in your blog post are completely and utterly off-base:
a) Opus 9 stole breadcrumbs from Vista's Explorer, not XYplorer. In addition to that, Opus 8 already had a "hot paths" feature, thought up by GPSoft independently, that was already quite a lot like breadcrumbs (minus the pop-up menus for sibling folders) before anything I know of had breadcrumbs.
b) Are you seriously claiming XYplorer invented thumbnails? (WTF!??) Opus 6 had thumbnails. Explorer has had them since I can't remember. There's prior art going back to the stone age.
Or did you mean to type "Tiles" instead of "Thumbnails"? If so then I can confirm that the idea for Tiles mode was indeed "stolen". Not from XYplorer but from Windows Explorer, again. I imagine XYplorer got the idea from Explorer, too, if it also has Tiles mode. Or maybe the XYplorer developer thought of it independently before Windows XP came out, I don't know. It's hardly revolutionary to say "let's combine thumbnails with more textual information than just the filename" so it's not unthinkable that different people thought of similar ideas. If you're going to accuse Opus of stealing ideas, though, get your facts straight about where it stole them from!
You'd be a strange person indeed if you preferred that developers avoided adding useful features if they were already present in something else. Personally, and in general, I'd rather have all the useful features in one place so I don't have to live without anything or switch between different things which ultimately do the same task. Where two programs have the same feature, let them compete by how well they implement it. (For example, in Opus's Tiles mode you can define which information is shown per filetype. If you want the focal length or GPS coordinates your photos were taken at to be displayed next to them then you can do that. I don't know what XYplorer's tiles view (if any) is like but there's no such option in Explorer, at least.)
c) Are you seriously claiming XYplorer invented tabs? (WTF!?!??) Tabs in Opus were inspired by Firefox which probably got the idea from Opera which was probably just applying Microsoft's MDI concept to web browsing.
I mentioned your weblog post to Trevor Morris, creator of the graphics and icons inside of Opus and long-time beta-tester and collaborator going back to the Amiga versions. He replied: "Funny, because I think I was one of the first people to suggest/request tabs in DOpus, and I've certainly never installed (nor even heard of) XYplorer." I don't know when XPlorer got folder tabs but Trevor was asking for them years and years ago.
Actually, forget when they were first requested, Tabs were already in Opus 8, which itself was out years ago! Opus 9 has improved on them but your weblog makes it sound like Opus only just got folder tabs and is only just "catching up", which is utter rubbish. Credit where it's due: I believe the ideas of locked and renamable tabs originated with Total Commander. Those features were added to Opus 9 after people who had used TC kept asking for them in Opus. Again, if you want to accuse a program of stealing ideas, get your facts straight and at least accuse it stealing from the right program! Or, even better, see it as a good thing. Would it better for the Opus developers to ignore all the people asking for a feature because it already exists in another program? Nobody wins then. If something is a good idea then let it be added to all programs and let them compete on how well they implement them.
I trust that if XYPlorer adds a dual-pane feature (if it doesn't have one already; I don't know for sure, but two posts here say it doesn't) then you will post to your webblog about how XYPlorer is "catching up with" and "stealing ideas from" Directory Opus or some other file manager going back to Norton Commander or whatever it was that first came out with a dual-pane view. (For what it's worth, and as far as I know, Opus was first file manager to combine being able to open as many windows as you want with being able to have dual-displays in one (or more) single window(s) when you wanted it, for the best-of-both-worlds combination of the two paradigms. Maybe something else did it first but if so I never saw it in action.)
Different programs have different features. Differnet programs might gain different features at different times. Programs which do similar jobs are not all heading down the same road in the same direction towards the same final end-state of feature-complete perfection because there's no such thing. Different developers and users have different opinions about what makes a perfect program, and that's a good thing because it gives us all choice. (The only thing the whole user and developer community can agree on in the whole world is that Lotus Notes sucks.)
A lot of the stuff added to Opus 9 has been in the feature request list for literally years. There's only so much that can be added to a program in any one update and the developers have to make a call about which features they think are important for the next release, taking into account how long they'll take to integrate with the existing code and what effect they'll have on other things that are also wanted. If another file manager adds something that Opus doesn't have then good for it; meanwhile, the Opus devs have been working on some other feature which some people might find more important. Or less important. It's subjective. Even if those two programs then trade features at a later date, it doesn't mean one is "catching up" to the other. It just means those features seemed like good ideas, or were asked for by users, and it made sense to add them at that time. It doesn't even mean one program is copying another as the features may have been thought up years ago, or inspired by a third program or something with nothing to do with computers at all.
Neither program is a subset of the other. If I had the time or saw the point I'm sure I could list hundreds of features that Opus has that XYplorer hasn't. That would be pointless, though. They're two different programs. I have nothing at all against XYplorer. From a quick look at its website it looks like a good program and I wouldn't hesitate to include in the list of file managers I'd recommend people try when working out which is best for them. It looks like XYplorer has its own unique features that aren't in Opus just like Opus has its own features that aren't in XYplorer. Neither fact makes one program better than the other.
I just wonder what planet you are on by attributing the invention of things like thumbnails (or tiles if you meant that) and tabs to XYplorer and claiming that Opus is "catching up" to XYplorer because XYplorer "stole" Vista's breadcrumbs idea before Opus did. (If Microsoft stole breadcrumbs from XYplorer then I apologise for that accusation but, like I've said, I don't see what's wrong with "stealing" ideas like that. To not do so would be like IE not adding tabbed browsing for years after it became apparent to everyone else that it was a killer feature.) Using the same type of logic and arbitrary selection of features that you used in your weblog post it would be easy for me to argue that XYplorer has a lot of catching up to do with Opus, but that wouldn't paint a fair picture of XYplorer at all. (e.g. The very first item in the most recent XYplorer update on their front page: 29th March 2007 "Added preview of *.tga (Targa) files!" Opus had that years ago. Oh my god, a stolen idea! ...Or maybe, up until now, displaying TGA files simply wasn't the top priority in the minds of the XYplorer developers who were busy doing other things.)
All you've done is arbitrarily pick some features that have been added to Opus recently and were already in XYplorer while ignoring all the other new features added to Opus that XYPlorer doesn't have. More importantly, you've ignored all the features Opus has had since version 6 or 8 that XYPlorer doesn't have. You're also judging the Opus 9 update before you know everything that's in it, given that the full list of changes has yet to be published (my guide ignores literally hundreds of small changes that might be a big deal to some), and in addition to that it's apparent that you didn't even finish reading my Opus 9 guide or GPSoft's very brief highlights list before running off to slag off the Opus 9 update on your weblog simply because it costs money. (How strange, saying something is too expensive or should be free before you even know what's in it.)
Regarding your "four very important ways" and other statements:
Portability and Size
I assume that by "portability" you mean running from USB. I guess you didn't read my guide or GPSoft's highlights because this is covered in both.
In Opus 9 your complete setup, including the program itself and all your settings, can be copied directly to a USB stick in about 5 mouse clicks. You can then run Opus from that USB stick by double-clicking dopus.exe in the root of the drive. No installation, no copying and no registry changes. (The U3 system is also supported but Opus doesn't require it and doesn't rely on it, or anything else, to clean up the registry since Opus no longer stores its settings in the registry.)
As for size, my Opus install is 20MB, 9MB of which is optional plugins that I could delete to reduce the size to 11MB. Even if I add on the optional online-help files, optional PDF manual, optional language translations and the multiple copies of the Release Notes for various versions I have sitting around, Opus is still only using 37MB of my HDD. (If your Opus install is bigger than that is probably due to a load of background graphics that you've copied into the directory or somethign like that.)
10MB to 40MB is hardly massive or likely to fill anyone's computer, iPod, memory stick or whatever in this day and age. I put it to you that it just doesn't matter if a program is 1MB or 20MB. I also put it to you that functionality is much more important than a few meg of disk space. I've you disagree then I've got a copy of Norton Commander that you might like. It fits on a single floppy disk with room to spare for a low-res, heavily compressed JPEG.
In this thread (but not on your blog) you also mention that XML settings is something XYPlorer has that Opus doesn't. Once again, apparently you didn't actually read the list of changes! My guide has an entire section about XML configuration.
Yeah, it would've been great if Opus used XML settings all along but that's life. The move to XML settings and other changes for USB mode took a lot of time and effort which (a few small things aside) only really benefit the relatively small number of people who want to run Opus from a USB stick. That's why USB mode is an optional extra. It was significant amount of work for a relatively small number of people so those people are being asked to pay for it if they want it. If they don't want it or don't think it's worth it then nobody is forcing them to buy it.
To put things in perspective, if I had Opus 9 without USB mode and I needed to buy the add-on in order to help a friend down the road with his computer then I would spend as much on a return pair of bus tickets (GBP Â£2 each) getting to his house as I would on USB mode itself (GBP Â£4), and I'd be able to use USB mode forever afterwards, unlike the bus tickets.
Ability to easily save and restore all settings to/from external files.
There's a settings Backup & Restore Wizard in Opus 9, also shown and mentioned in my guide. You select Settings -> Backup & Restore from the menus, select the Backup radio button and then click Next a few times. A second later all of your settings are saved to a single file that can be imported just as easily. (The backup is just a zip file with XML files, background images, etc. inside it so you can open it up and edit it if you need to for some reason.) Opus even puts your username and the date into the default filename so you can easily keep several historic backups in one place without having to rename anything. If don't think that's easy then I don't really know what to say. It wasn't exactly difficult in Opus 8, either.
In this thread you mention "System integration" as somehing XYplorer does better than Opus. What do you mean by that? Opus hooks into folder double-clicks (Explorer Replacement mode), and it'll run just about any other program that has a command-line or DDE interface, too. It lets you create system-wide hotkeys, docked toolbars on the desktop, etc. It lets you view My Computer and Recycle Bin, etc. It lets you view Word documents etc. Sounds like system integration to me but I don't have a clue what you actually meant by that. What is it that you feel is lacking under the vague label of "system integration?" If something is missing and it's a good idea then I'm sure it will be considered for addition. Enlighten us! Just throwing around vague terms doesn't help people decide which program is better for them, nor does it help developers improve their products, because nobody but you has any idea what you're talking about.
When I first read this I thought you were suggesting that the Opus licence expires some time after you buy it. It doesn't and it'd be nice if you corrected your weblog post so that people reading it don't get the wrong idea.
You buy a version of Opus and you can use what you bought forever. The only thing that expires is the right to official support and that expiry, which has never been enforced to my knowledge, only kicks in if you are still using an old version a year after a newer version has been released. In reality people in that situation still get support. They'll certainly get support from myself and the other fellow users at the Resource Centre Forums and my guess is that they'll still get support from GPSoft. (I've been copied on replies from GPSoft about Opus 6 issues that had some relation to me, e.g. plugins I've written, even in the last few months, for example.) The clause is just there to stop someone who bought Opus 6 in 2001 *demanding* support for it in 2015 when Opus 6 is ancient history and nobody can even remember how it worked. Seems reasonable to me.
Having read some of the posts here I see now that you were not talking about licence expiry. You were talking about the right to free updates forever. There's a big difference between the licence to use a piece of software and the right to free updates for a piece of software and it's not helpful to anyone to confuse the two. Aside from anti-virus products (for obvious reasons), very few programs expire unless you pay more money. (There are a few exceptions. CDRWin springs to mind. I don't know if it's still around or using the same annoying licence/protection system that forced you to buy updates every year even if no significant work had been done on the program but that annoyed me and made me switch products.)
Okay, let's look at the idea of being able to buy the right to free updates forever:
So far I've only found three companies that honored their "lifetime" licenses â€” WinRAR, XYplorer, and UltraEdit so far.
Like you said, three companies in total. Why expect this from everyone?
Given the assumptions that developers don't have unlimited time and that developers need money to pay for food and rent, it seems to me there are only four ways such a business model can work:
- The developer rarely spends significant time improving the product and users almost never get major updates, only the odd bug fix or minor feature that nobody would pay for in the first place.
WinRAR was one of your examples. When was the last time WinRAR received a significant update that anyone would have paid money for? I'm not knocking WinRAR here; it does what people paid for and it's not falling apart or anything like that but since you bought WinRAR have there been any updates bigger than those that would have been free for Opus? I'm not an avid WinRAR user, and apologies to RARLabs if I'm wrong here, but, as far as I'm aware, the answer is "no". So the "unlimited updates" thing doesn't mean a hell of a lot in this example. Sure, it's nice to know you won't get screwed for a minor update just because it's been a year since you paid some money, but that isn't how Opus updates work either and any program that was sold like that is probably best avoided in the first place.
- The developer offers lifetime updates at a *significantly* increased up-front cost compared to buying discounted updates normally when they become available.
You used UltraEdit as another example so let's look at that: USD $50 gets you UltraEdit and entitles you to free updates for a year. Fair enough. However, if you want unlimited updates then that will cost you USD $125 instead. That's 2.5 times the product's FULL price. Factor in that upgrades don't cost full price, and that no company in the world will guarantee they will carry on producing new versions of any product, and it doesn't seem like a great deal to me, unless UltraEdit has non-free updates very, very regularly. I have nothing against the people who make UltraEdit for offering such a deal but it's not one that I would take up.
Let's examine a hypothetical world where Opus had a similar pricing scheme offering unlimited updates for 2.5x the "new user" price. Back in December 2001 when Opus 6 was released for Windows you would have paid USD $175 for a licence with lifetime updates. (I'm using current prices and exchange rates to avoid confusing the issue with one of general foriegn exchange speculation.) Fast forward five and a half years to 27th April 2007 and the release of Opus 9. You would still be USD $25 down compared to what you'd have if you'd bought Opus 6 for USD $70 and then paid USD $40 for each of the Opus 8 and 9 updates ($175 vs $150). There were about two and a half years between Opus 6 and 8 and the same between Opus 8 and 9 (there was no Opus 7) so let's assume Opus 10 gets released about two years from now, in 2009. Eight years after the start of the original deal you would finally be saving money. You would have paid USD $175 while someone who did things the usual way would have paid USD $190. Wow, that's a whole USD $15 saved over an eight year peroid for an up-front investment of USD Â£105 above the usual price. Whoop-de-doo.
Of course, your investment would not have been risk-free. During those eight years someone else might have come out with a better program that you decided to switch to, making your investment worthless. Or the developers of the original program may have taken it in a direction you didn't care for, producing updates that had no value to you and that you would not have paid for given the option, making your investment worthless. Or the developers of the original program may have converted to the Church Scientology and stopped releasing updates at all because they became too busy lecturing random people about anti-depressants, making your investment not only worthless by as bad as paying money to see a Tom Cruise movie.
However I look at it, spending 2.5x the full price of a product to get free updates forever seems like a crap investment to me. Here's a better idea: Buy the normal updates and stick the rest of the money in a savings account.
- The developer has won the lottery or something and is so filthy rich they don't have to worry about paying bills or buying food ever again and yet, inexplicably, they still charge money for the initial purchase instead of giving the program away for free.
I don't know of any examples of this.
- The program's userbase is expanding so quickly that the developers can make enough money even if they only charge new customers.
I can't think of any examples of this, either.
Note that I haven't mentioned one of yours example, XYplorer, because I don't know where it fits in the 4 scenarios. Maybe it fits in a 5th scenario I haven't even thought of.
Of course, there are other situations where the program is given away free and there's no concept of "free updates" because everything is free anyway. This is usually either because the developers work on the program in their spare time and have other sources of income (in which case major updates are *probably* quite rare) or because the program is funded as a loss-leader by one or more companies with some larger agenda (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, StarOffice). Neither case applies to Directory Opus which is a full-time job and the primary source of income for the two people who are GPSoftware.
If you think it's too much and that Opus doesn't give you enough in return then that's fair enough. I can't tell you what your money is worth or which features are important to you. Personally, I think that Opus is more than worth it. I also don't think think GBP Â£35 or USD $70 (that was USD $65 a couple of years ago; the US economy is sliding) is a lot of money for such a useful tool. It's subjective, of course, but we're only talking about the price of a decent meal out for two or a couple of rounds of drinks on a night out with some friends. We're not talking about a month's rent, like if you buy Photoshop, or something like that.
I bought DOpus 6, skipped 7, and spent another $90 buying everything I wanted for version 8.
There was no Opus 7 to skip. The version numbers jumped from 6 to 8.
(Trivia: The version number was changed quite late in the Opus 8 beta cycle. If I remember correctly, we were all testing "Directory Opus 7" until the last couple of betas. AFAIK the number change was for purely silly and cosmetic reasons: Someone didn't like the look of the number 7 at the end of the Directory Opus logo! 6, 8 and 9 have nice rounded edges on the right which balance out the big letter-O on the left of the logo but 7 has harsh straight lines. :) Silly if you ask me, but so long as the version number increases with each release I'm happy enough, and it's a nice bonus when it means people talking rubbish on weblogs and forums get caught out a couple of years later. :-) )
Speaking of which, I do not understand where your $90 figure came from. If you owned Opus 6 then updating to Opus 8 would have cost you USD $40, at most, plus USD $10 extra if you bought the Secure-FTP module, which was the only optional extra at the time. That's at most USD $50, not $90. (I say "at most" because the upgrade pricing from 6 to 8 used a sliding scale that maxed out at $40 depending on how long ago you bought Opus 6. GPSoft dropped the sliding scale for Opus 9 updates since it was confusing and made it impossible to publish a clear upgrade price, even if it was arguably fairer for some. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that they might be nice to you if you just missed the five-month cut-off date for a free update.)
They really should sell just one complete version.
If they did it would presumably cost as much as it would to buy the normal version plus the two optional extras that are currently available.
People keep asking, "why isn't there a cut-down version of Opus with fewer features?" The problem is, as always: Which features? Something essential to one person might be completely useless to another, and vice versa. How do you decide?
If they want to modularize it, then fine, but start with the portable/micro version and go up, rather than extracting features that should be part of every copy.
Exactly my point. You're saying "I think feature X is essential but I don't use feature Y. If there's going to be a cut-down, cheaper version then it should clearly have X and not Y. Anything else would be stupid." Yet someone else is going to feel exactly the opposite to you and, if you think about it, USB mode is a niche feature. It's very useful to enough people that it was well worth implementing. I think it's cool and I carry Opus around on a USB keyring just in case I end up working on someone else's computer. It's cool. It's really, really useful to some. But it's still a niche feature. The vast majority of users run Opus on their own computers and don't go around to other computers with a USB drive sticking out the front.
In the end, the way I see it (which may not be the way GPSoft see it; I'm just assuming):
- If something is likely to be useful to just about everyone then everyone gets it as part of the main program.
- If something didn't take a lot of time and effort to add then everyone gets it.
- If something is difficult to separate from the rest of the program then everyone gets it.
- If something took a lot of time and effort to add, yet is only used by a handful of people, and is easy to make optional, then it might be turned into an optional extra.
The last point has only happened with two things so far: SSH/SFTP/FTPS support (basic FTP support is standard) and USB mode. Those two things cost more if you want them. If you don't want them or don't think they're worth USD $10 then pretend they were never added to the program.
Potentially, I could also see a feature being optional where adding it required licensing a costly library or other technology. That hasn't happened yet but if it did it would seem unfair to pass that cost on to everyone when only a few benefit from it.
There is scope for a future version of Opus that has some of the current features removed and costs less or maybe even a really stripped-down and free version. Who knows. People keep asking for it but, again, it's hard to know which features to remove without creating a crippled program nobody wants to use, or that doesn't offer anything that you can't already get from some other cheap/free file manager. Look at Photoshop Elements, for example. It's a complete piece of crap and it makes the real Photoshop product look bad by sharing its name. Anyone who wants a cheap/free photo editing program would be better off using PaintShopPro or The Gimp, and the users of the real Photoshop would be better served by Adobe not diverting resources to a lesser product they have no interest in.
Also, no one REALLY gets too hot under the collar about the price of an upgrade from say Office 2000 to 2007, so who am I to criticise? The comparatively nominal cost of going from DOpus 8 to 9 will probably benefit me far more than the upgrade, costing far more, from Office 2003 to 2007.
Good point about paying for Office updates. There's also a lot of software that seems to be updated once a year, without fail, even if there are no significant new features on offer. I don't mean Office, where lots of features do get added but very few people use them; I mean programs where you're being offered version N+2 when it feels like you only just bought version N, let alone N+1. Where the update email seems more interested in the date than telling you about new features, of which there are only five to speak of, none of which excite you. I won't mention any names but I've noticed it in the backup and defrag software market from several (not all) of the vendors. (It's happening with computer games now as well.) I find that annoying myself but, meh, I'm free to skip updates until one comes along that I want, and that's what I do.
You're free to skip Opus updates as well, of course, but Opus updates don't work that way. GPSoft seem to be releasing major (i.e. non-free) updates only once every two and a half years or so. They don't release an update that costs money unless it actually adds significantly to the product. This in turn means that between releases GPSoft are working hard so that they actually have something to show when the next update is ready, else there's no food and rent for them when the new users dry up! The jump from Opus 6 to 8 was massive. The free 8.2 update added several major features for free, since they were already coded up at the time and there weren't enough of them to justify selling a new version. There were also ten or so (I don't know the actual number) other, more minor updates for both Opus 6 and Opus 8, adding small things and fixing various bugs as they were reported (a couple of times within a day or two of the report, if the problem warranted it). Many vendors would have charged for 8.2 but GPSoft gave it away. The jump from Opus 8.2 to 9 is here now and it's significant enough to warrant being a paid-for update. It's a personal call whether the new features interest you enough to pay for them but people seem very positive so far, once they've learnt what they are. I would also bet that there will be more features added in free updates after Opus 9, like the 8.2 update added to Opus 8. Just a hunch.
If the update price seems a lot, keep in mind that you're paying for updates about half as often yet arguably getting more when the updates arrive.
GPSoft only provided two minor updates to Directory Opus 8, and now they want almost 66% of the full price for an upgrade, with several options being left out of the main program unless you want to pay for them. Thatâ€™s bullshit, and reason enough to claim that GPSoft is hostile to its current paying customers.
Here's another version of the truth: The only thing that is bullshit, sir, is your knowledge of the facts. 8.2 was far from a minor update, as cthorpe thankfully pointed out, and there were many more than two updates for Opus 8. (It didn't just go 8.0, 8.1, 8.2. There were minor revisions between the point releases.)
Since when is "several" used to describe two things?
And "hostile to its current paying customers?" In what way, exactly? How is offering two and a half years' work for USD $40 a hostile action? Nobody is being forced to upgrade, nobody who bought Opus 6 or 8 is having anything taken away from them. Customers old and new get ridiculously good and swift support, on the whole, from the Opus Resource Centre forums. Hostile to paying customers? That's so wrong it's insulting.